ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Political Economy of Independent Regulation in India’s Natural Gas Industry

Based on a case study of India's downstream hydrocarbon regulator, this article argues that the success or failure of independent regulation in industries supplying basic goods and services is determined by the politico-economic context in which the regulator functions. In a developing country with a large number of poor people without access to basic necessities such as water, energy, or roads, independent economic regulation by itself can deliver little, unless backed by a strong political will

Benchmarking Approach to Improve the Public Procurement Process

While governments in India have adopted electronic means to streamline their procurement process, the data generated by these portals have not been used to derive any meaningful information. This article presents a data-driven, multi-method approach to use benchmarking as a tool to improve the public procurement tendering process. Developing the relevant key performance indicators, it measures and compares the performance of the public procurement tendering process in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and West Bengal in the last five years.

Can Postcolonial Feminism Revive International Relations?

International relations must distance itself from its Eurocentric and masculine moorings if it is to address its increasing irrelevance in the modern world and become more "international" and truly inclusive. The theoretical position of postcolonial feminism gives the discipline the best chance of doing so. The effect of conflict on women in Kashmir and the North East illustrates how a postcolonial feminist perspective enriches an understanding of the issue and enables international relations to reflect the lived reality of the people.

Evolution of Electricity Tariff in India, 1975–2010

In the early 1990s, India embarked on a series of reforms in its power sector. Years of structural reform and policy changes have had an effect on both the costs and tariffs of electric power. Electricity supply involves both the central and state governments, and given the diversity of geographical conditions, the experience of different states in pricing and cost recovery has been different over the years. The focus of this paper is on how costs and tariffs have evolved for 22 major Indian states from 1975 to 2010, and it attempts to correlate that with policy changes 

Dominant or Backward?

Using data from the India Human Development Survey, this paper examines the demands of Jats (Haryana), Patels (Gujarat), and Marathas (Maharashtra) to be classified as Other Backward Classes to access reservations. Compared to the major caste groups (Brahmins, other forward castes, existing OBCs, and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) in their respective states, based on several socio-economic factors, they are closer to dominant than disadvantaged groups. Their claim to backwardness is empirically unjustified. The paper examines the material basis of their anxieties in the context of structural changes in the Indian agricultural economy. It investigates networks and political connections that explain their success in mobilising.

Setting Environmental Standards

This paper analyses the process by which the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, sets new regulations or revises existing ones and compares the Indian processes with those in the United States and the European Union. The processes examined include regulations related to coal-fired thermal power plants and water. The Indian process is ad hoc, opaque, and has limited scope for public participation. This can lead to inappropriate standards, lack of legitimacy of standards, and absence of widespread acceptance, all leading to ineffective implementation. The paper discusses these critical deficiencies and suggests improvements.

Investigating the Causes for Low Female Age at Marriage

This study on low female age at marriage is aimed at investigating the causes and factors influencing the marginal increase in age at marriage among women from 15.3 years as reported in the National Family Health Survey-1 (1992–93) to 16.1 years in NFHS-3 (2005–06) in undivided Andhra Pradesh. The analysis of the data collected from a sample of 716 households from seven districts of Telangana and of 1,944 households from 10 districts of Andhra Pradesh reveals that the two most important exogenous variables with respect to age at marriage are awareness and education, with education emerging as a key indicator.

Mapping India’s Finances

As a useful adjunct to other macroeconomic accounts, this paper describes financial flows between different sectors of the Indian economy from 1955 to 2015. It finds that the consolidated government sector has the largest net deficit, while the households sector has the largest net surplus. The private corporate sector is running larger deficits than at any other time in the past, implying more reliance on external credits. With liberalisation and globalisation, the rest of the world sector is now the second-largest net surplus sector in the economy.

Plan, but Do Not Over-plan

Drawing on six decades of India’s experience with planning, the main lesson for the NITI Aayog is that it must devote as careful thought to the planning process as to the strategic plan itself. It must recognise that it is not engaged in a technical exercise, but one that involves a deep understanding of people and organisational behaviour. The government and the Prime Minister too must realise that they have to play a significant role in articulating an economic vision, as opposed to endorsing suggestions put up by the bureaucracy.

Regulation and Governance of Employment Relations in Pre-employment Phase

This article looks at pre-employment issues in the employment relationship with a view to provide a conceptual framework for regulation and governance of employment relations. It brings out the distinction between a letter of intent and an offer letter. It looks at different scenarios such as a deferred offer, alternate offer, revised offer that the offer letter can be a precursor to. It also argues that from the organisation’s perspective these are risk management strategies in the face of various circumstances. Different kinds of misrepresentation on the part of employer and employees to induce each other to enter into an employment agreement are deliberated upon. The role of labour market intermediaries in perpetrating this is also highlighted. Further, it suggests steps that can be taken to mitigate such instances and grounds under which damages may be claimed upon subsequent knowledge.

Torture Redress Mechanisms in Nepal and Bangladesh

Human rights organisations have been active in documenting widespread torture in Nepal and Bangladesh, taking very different paths towards accountability—Nepal stressing civil compensation and Bangladesh, criminal liability. Accountability in both countries, however, is limited, with the poor and marginalised, who are particularly vulnerable to torture and ill-treatment, fearful of reporting incidents and seeking justice. This paper explores the appropriation and unfolding of rights vocabularies in two distinct political, institutional and legal contexts, and suggests that human rights organisations should place protection of victims and legal assistance alongside advocacy for accountability.

Why Urban Waste Continues to Follow the Path of Least Resistance

A lack of imagination and linear municipal solid waste management practices have resulted in promoting incineration, which is fraught with adverse environmental and health consequences, as a solution to getting rid of our urban garbage. This paper points out that while enhancing the abilities of cities to work towards zero waste ought to be the goal, local populations now bear the unhealthy effects of unsound waste management processes, and local governments bear their operational and financial burden, all to no good effect.

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